ATP's dispute over slam money damaging game's imagePosted: Friday July 04, 2003 3:01 PM
Updated: Friday July 04, 2003 4:53 PM
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- The ATP's dispute over Grand Slam money has damaged the image of tennis and its players, the Grand Slam Committee said Friday.
The issue was discussed in a meeting of the chairmen of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open this week at Wimbledon. Representatives of the ATP and WTA Tours were also present.
Two days before Wimbledon began, more than 80 male pros agreed to play in alternative tennis tournaments set up by the ATP if disagreements with the Grand Slam events about prize money and other issues were not smoothed over.
The Grand Slam Committee said in a statement it was "disappointed in ATP leadership's current unwillingness" to back off on its threat to play alternative tournaments. It said the threat would "have a negative impact on further discussions.
"However the GSC remains determined to have constructive and inclusive dialogue with all constituents on important issues in the sport."
The ATP said in a statement Friday that its representatives will keep negotiating with each Grand Slam individually about the players' requests for more money.
Serena Williams is 4-11 favorite with British bookmaker William Hill to beat sister Venus in the Wimbledon final on Saturday. Venus is 2-1. Roger Federer is the 1-2 favorite to win the men's title Sunday, with Mark Philippoussis at 6-4.
Still shooting for 20
Martina Navratilova won one -- and lost one Friday.
She was eliminated from women's doubles when she and Svetlana Kuznetsova dropped their quarterfinal against Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
But she won her mixed doubles quarterfinal, teaming with Leander Paes to defeat the American pair of Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Navratilova is trying to match Billie Jean King's record of 20 Wimbledon titles. She has 19, tied with Elizabeth Ryan. King has six singles titles, 10 in doubles and four in mixed. Navratilova has nine singles titles, seven in doubles and three in mixed.
Navratilova ranks second in career Grand Slam titles with 57: 18 in singles, 31 in doubles and eight in mixed doubles. The women's record is 62, held by Margaret Smith Court (24 singles, 19 doubles, 19 mixed).
Rubber band style
Andy Roddick isn't one to wear flashy jewelry on the court. Instead, the 20-year-old wears a rubber band around his left wrist.
"I'm stepping it up in the jewelry department," he said. "You can buy 100 of them for 50 cents."
And Roddick's been through several.
"They get a little loose," he said. "You have to throw a new one on there every once in a while. You got to keep it tight. Can't have any looseness going on."
Meanwhile, coach Brad Gilbert has been wearing his lucky hat since Roddick played, and won, the Wimbledon tuneup event at Queens. The brown fisherman-style hat has the logo of heavy metal band Metallica written on it.
"I put it on when he played the first match and he hasn't lost since," Gilbert said. "(Metallica drummer) Lars is a really good buddy of mine, and his father Torben made the quarters here twice so he was a legend. I'm paying homage to him."
Actually Torben Ulrich, a Dane, only made the third round at Wimbledon, in 1956, '58 and '70. And the good luck charm wasn't much help Friday for Roddick, who lost to fourth-seeded Swiss Roger Federer 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-3.
It hasn't been a good month for Lleyton Hewitt.
First he became only the second defending champion since 1967 to lose in the opening round of Wimbledon, going out against Ivo Karlovic. Now his ranking has slipped.
In three weeks, Hewitt's world ranking has dropped from No. 1 to No. 5.
Andre Agassi will stay No. 1 in the rankings that come out on Monday.
Mark Philippoussis is the eighth Australian man to reach the Wimbledon final in the Open Era. The other seven are: Rod Laver, Tony Roche, John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall, Pat Cash, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt. Laver won it '68 and '69, Newcombe in '70 and '71, Cash in '87 and Hewitt last year.
There has been an Australian semifinalist at Wimbledon for seven of the past eight years. It's also the fourth year in a row there's been an Australian in the final.
"Obviously just having your name on the trophy is a dream come true," Philippoussis said. "A lot of tennis players when they are kids, dream of winning Wimbledon. It's one of their favorite tournaments. It has been for me."
Boy to man
Roger Federer is trying to be the first junior champion to win the senior title since Stefan Edberg in 1983.
Federer won the boy's title in 1998. Edberg went on to win Wimbledon in 1988 and 1990.
The only other players to be junior and senior champions are Bjorn Borg (junior in 1972, champion from 1976 to 1980) and Pat Cash, who won the boy's event in 1982 and the men's title in 1987.
This is the first time since 1982 that both men's semifinals were completed in straight sets. The last two players to win in three sets were John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Connors won the title in '82 ... Roger Federer is the first Swiss man to reach a men's Grand Slam final ... Andre Agassi and Roger Federer have each won four ATP titles this year -- the most of any player.